Staples Creates Own Dollar Menu

Taking a page out of McDonald’s marketing book, Staples has launched its own “dollar deals.” The program, which will run for the month of January, offers Sharpies, Bic pens, writing pads, paper clips and other items for $1.

Ads, which broke Jan. 4, target business owners in search of savings. The first spot said: “This is more than my easy button. iIt’s my save so much we can finally get office chairs button” and “the bring back the morning doughnuts button.” McCann in New York handles.

Promoting dollar deals is an unusual strategy for a retailer like Staples, said Paul Leinwand, vp of Booz & Company. “I’ve seen ads around specific price points like $5, $10 and $15 gift pages, but I’ve never seen a push for the dollar price point. Obviously, everyone is trying to figure out how to respond to the pressure of providing value. This is a creative method to create traffic,” he said.

Christine Mallon, vice president of retail marketing at Staples, said, “At Staples, we understand that our customers are facing tough economic times. Our goal is to make it easy for small businesses to save money on a wide variety of office products every day, including new $1 deals, 2-for-1 deals and many other special values and promotions being offered each week this month.”

Dollar deals are is a better alternative to deep discounting, Leinwand said. Staples offers a variety of office supplies that fit the dollar mark without losing incredible margins. “Discounting has its consequences because people get used to those price points,” he said.

Plus there is no shame in competing directly with dollar stores, said Leinwand. “Dollars stores have better margins than many retail channels,” he said.

Staples spent nearly $65 million in media for the first 10 months of last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. In all of 2007, it doled out almost $115 million.